‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12, Episode 7 power ranking: Like a Prayer

(Editor’s Note: VH1 and World of Wonder have disqualified Sherry Pie over serious catfishing allegations involving five men. A spokesperson for VH1 and World of Wonder said the season will air as planned “out of respect for the hard work of the other queens.” In keeping with this decision, we will omit Sherry Pie from this season’s rankings.)

Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical” challenges the queens’ singing and dancing abilities. Who keeps up, and who got “Hung Up” on their own anxieties?

8. Brita (last week: 8) — ELIMINATED

Brita Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

This was inevitable, and honestly probably should’ve happened sooner. Brita has done great damage to her reputation this season, in part because of her own behaviour on the show and in part because production gave her one of the harshest edits I’ve ever seen on Drag Race. Using that “I need to represent for New York City” clip this week felt like beating a dead horse. What’s worse is that, because the drag world is largely shut down during this pandemic, Brita has no real way of demonstrating to New Yorkers why they fell in love with her in the first place.

She fully deserved to go home this week—her performance in the Rusical was easily the worst—but on a human level, I’ve got a lot of empathy for her. The best thing she can do for herself right now is give herself a respite from Twitter (she won’t find much love there), decompress and get ready to come back in a big way when the world resumes later on.

7. Heidi N. Closet (last week: 4)

Heidi N Closet Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

My heart aches for Heidi. She turned out a not-so-great look on the runway despite a solid performance twice this season—here and during Gay’s Anatomy—and both happened during unusually strong group performances. So she’s got two “bottom two” credits to her name now, despite not actually performing that poorly either time! Judging by Untucked, Heidi is utterly defeated, and I can’t blame her. This blows.


What I would tell her, if I could grab a time machine and go back to filming, is that her best bet is leaning into her natural charisma as much as she can. Like Alyssa Edwards, Heidi has the potential to just charm her way through every week despite not hitting the challenges perfectly. And, when she does hit the bottom, she has proven she can lip sync her ass off and stay. She’s got the tools to succeed; I just hope she doesn’t give up on herself.

6. Jackie Cox (last week: 2)

Jackie Cox Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

It’s fully bullshit that Jackie wasn’t in the bottom two, but I guess her Night of 1000 Michelles runway (and Michelle Visage’s gushing love of it in particular) saved her. Although I’ll say this, and I hadn’t noticed it until this week: Jackie’s runway walk is pretty bad. It’s not quite Kim Chi levels of awkward, but she moves pretty hesitantly. I’m surprised Michelle hasn’t called it out.

I do like Jackie, but I also don’t think Jackie should be given a free pass when she flops. She and Brita were easily the worst performers of the week. The only thing I can think is that Ru wasn’t convinced Jackie could send Brita home in a lip sync, and needed that particular obstacle cleared. It’s not unheard of: Latrice Royale was in the bottom a couple times over worse performers in the challenges (Sharon Needles in the makeover comes to mind) because Ru needed a guaranteed ringer to take a lesser queen out. But on the merits, Jackie absolutely deserved to lip sync.

5. Jaida Essence Hall (last week: 3)

Jaida Essence Hall Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

This run of safe performances, while certainly not as bad as being in the bottom, is really not great for Jaida. It feels like even without seeing her for critiques, the judges are forgetting Jada and the editors aren’t including her much in workroom segments either. She needs a win, and fast, because Gigi has triple her wins right now, and it’s starting to feel like the momentum is never going to come back for Ms. Hall.

4. Widow Von’Du (last week: 6)

Widow Von Du Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

While, like Jaida, Widow’s multiple safe performances in a row have led to a slowing of her momentum, the difference is that Widow is largely the story driver in the workroom and Untucked at this point (with only Heidi in the same league as her). The show needs someone to instigate drama, and it feels like that’s going to be Widow’s role going forward. I’m not sure if she’ll make it all the way to the top four, but I could see her being the final boot before then (à la Kennedy Davenport or Darienne Lake, a villain who is cut at the last second). I think that’s the best Widow (and her fans) can hope for at this point. That she was just marked safe over Crystal despite a superior performance indicates Ru isn’t particularly invested in Widow. Her winning feels like an impossibility.

3. Crystal Methyd (last week: 7)

Crystal Methyd Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

And now we see the underdog/Ru’s pet project edit swing back upward in its trajectory. I do think Crystal was fun in this challenge, but hers wasn’t a top three performance, particularly considering how strong everyone was across the board. She was put in the top so Ru and Michelle could gush over her growth. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Crystal scores high (or even wins) nearly every challenge from here on out. If you look at someone like Adore Delano or Pearl, they all had slow starts before finally shooting upwards. What we will probably see is one week where Crystal has to lip sync, but shows a surprising amount of fight and sticks around anyway. Other than that, I expect it’s smooth sailing from here.

2. Jan (last week: 5)

Jan Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

On the one hand, Jan probably did perform the best in the challenge this week, and I vastly preferred her Night of 1000 Michelles runway over Gigi’s. On the other hand, the face crack upon her losing to Gigi was so delicious, I’m not sure I’d trade her win for the world. If we’re going to see Gigi stomp over all the competition this season (which, spoiler alert, we are), I at least want to see the other girls get pissed about it and try to fight back. I’m excited to see where Jan goes from here! Positive, upbeat, Drag Race superfan Jan never worked for me. But vengeful, robbed, out-for-blood Jan? That’s someone I’m eager to meet.

1. Gigi Goode (last week: 1)

Gigi Goode Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Crown her. It’s done. Gigi has shown she can do everything, from looks to improv to a dancing-and-singing performance. She’s not the most engaging personality of the season in her confessionals or in the workroom, but she’s hardly a wood plank. She’s genteel and charming, and her banter with Ru is off-the-charts charismatic and nervy. (I’m still not over her “I do not share the same concerns” from last week’s episode.) She is the fastest in Drag Race herstory to collect three main challenge wins—-it took Bob the Drag Queen seven episodes to get there, while Gigi got it in just six. (The next closest are Shea Coulée, Tyra Sanchez, Alexis Mateo, Ginger Minj and Sharon Needles, who all took nine episodes to get there.) And I’m not even counting Gigi’s top two appearance from the premiere, which under Lip Sync for Your Legacy rules would be considered a challenge win, too!

Honestly, I fully expect Gigi to break the record for most wins this season, and I don’t expect her to lip sync. I think the steamroll is underway, and quite frankly, I think it’s deserved. Sure, I may not have given her the ball win, but she smashed Snatch Game last week, and she was terrific in the Rusical. She’s an utter star, and sometimes all you can do is bow down. I wish this steamroll weren’t happening on such a strong season—there are so many great queens I wish were getting a chance to thrive—but I’m not gonna fault Gigi for that. Her dominance is a credit to her as a tremendous Drag Race competitor, and I’m ready to see her continue to thrive.

Kevin O’Keeffe is a writer, host, instructor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles, California. His favourite pastime is watching a perfect lip sync.

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